7 Facts About Greta Thunberg, The 16-Year-Old Climate Activist That Inspired A Movement
As the race against the climate change tipping point approaches, a fresh, young voice is rising above the crowds calling for conservation and action. While you've likely already heard her name and know a thing or two about the Swedish superstar, these facts about Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist that inspired a movement, might surprise you. She's accomplished quite a lot in her short life thus far.
Thunberg recently made American headlines for taking a treacherous two-week journey in an emission-free sailboat from Sweden to New York to attend a UN summit on zero emissions, according to The Guardian. On Friday, Thunberg used some of her time in the United States to participate in a climate change rally in front of the White House. But while this may have been the first time many Americans learned about Thunberg's activism, she is far from a new participant in the movement to fight climate change.
A self-taught science enthusiast, Thunberg spent many of her formative years combing through peer-reviewed journals and translating climate science jargon into "a language that [she] could understand at that age, as she told The Washington Post. From there, she has gone on to make waves across the globe, encouraging people to "listen to the science" and leading by example. And here are few more things you should know about the impassioned teen.
She Inspired A Worldwide Movement Of Young Activists
Last year, Thunberg staged a three-week-long school strike for climate change awareness in her home country of Sweden, in front of the parliament building. The school student walk-out, called Fridays For Future, has since spread to countries across the globe and boasts numbers as high as 100,000 kids, according to TED. Thunberg has stated that she plans to strike every Friday until Sweden is aligned with the Paris Agreement on climate change.
She's One Of TIME Magazine's Most Influential Teens
TIME magazine ranked Thunberg among its most influential teens of 2018, and for good reason. She was listed alongside other notable youths including Marley Dias of the #1000BlackGirlBooks project, actress and UNICEF goodwill ambassador Millie Bobby Brown, the Parkland students, and more.
She's A Talented TED Speaker
Thunberg took her Fridays For Future message to the stage when she became a TED Talk speaker this January. In the video, she talks about the rationale behind her strike, as well as the urgent need for action.
"The climate crisis has already been solved. We already have all the facts and solutions," Thunberg says in the video. "All we have to do is to wake up and change."
She Lives A Low Carbon Lifestyle As A Vegan Who Doesn't Fly
Thunberg practices what she preaches. Living a low-carbon lifestyle, she is a vegan and doesn't fly. This is why she took the zero emissions Malizia II racing yacht — skippered by Pierre Casiraghi, the son of Princess Caroline of Monaco, and the German round-the-world sailor Boris Herrmann — across the Atlantic, according to USA Today. The trip was delayed a bit by rough weather and when they reached New York, USA Today reported, Hermann said they had been at sea for a total of 330 hours — about 13 days and 8 hours.
She Has Been Nominated For A Nobel Peace Prize
Thunberg was nominated for the prestigious award by three Norwegian MPs for her environmental activism, according to the BBC. If she were to receive the prize, she would be the youngest person to win since Pakistan's Malala Yousafzai, who was 17 years old when she won.
"We have proposed Greta Thunberg because if we do nothing to halt climate change, it will be the cause of wars, conflict and refugees," Norwegian Socialist MP Freddy Andre Ovstegard told AFP news agency. "Greta Thunberg has launched a mass movement which I see as a major contribution to peace."
She is also set to receive the Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award for 2019 on Monday, Sept. 16
She Wrote A Book
Thunberg's book, No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference, is a collection of her presented speeches. The book was published by Penguin and the publisher is set to release Scenes from the Heart, a family memoir written alongside her mother, the opera singer Malena Ernman, her sister Beata Ernman, her father Svante Thunberg. The family plans to donate their earnings from both books to charity, according to The Guardian.
She's Counting On The U.S. To Make Change A Reality
Of all the countries involved in tackling climate change, Thunberg is looking at the United States directly. Speaking with The Washington Post upon her arrival in the country, she explained how her experience in the Unites States has differed from other countries she's visited.
"But, of course, it’s different here," she told the publication. "It feels like many people are debating about the climate crisis, which they are doing everywhere. But here, it’s like they even doubt facts. It’s like something you believe in, instead of being facts. Of course, it’s like that in a lot of other countries, as well. But maybe in the U.S., it’s a bit more."
That doubt influences other countries, such her home of Sweden. "You are such a big country," Thunberg told NPR. "In Sweden, when we demand politicians to do something, they say, 'It doesn't matter what we do — because just look at the U.S.' I think you have an enormous responsibility to lead climate efforts. You have a moral responsibility to do that."
Thunberg's activism is gaining attention. As she continues to spread the word of climate science around the world, there's no doubt her list of achievements will continue to grow. But in order for the movement to truly take hold, the world's population as a whole needs to take up her torch. Change starts with you.